Girvan’s new lifeboat is officially named

The new Girvan  lifeboat RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan.
The new Girvan lifeboat RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan.

Girvan’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, the RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan, will be named and officially handed over to Girvan lifeboat station on Saturday.

The naming ceremony takes place at Girvan lifeboat station, Knockcushan, on Saturday, May 5, at 2pm.

The Shannon is the most advanced class of lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet and the new Girvan boat is only the second Shannon class lifeboat in Scotland. All-weather lifeboats from Troon and Portpatrick will also be in attendance for the handing over ceremony during which Girvan Primary School will perform.

Roger Lockwood, chair of the Scottish Council will accept the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and John Gourlay, lifeboat operations manager will accept it on behalf of the crew.

Responsibility for naming the lifeboat goes to Alan Reid.

Girvan’s out-going lifeboat, the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat RNLB Silvia Burrell has been in service since 1993.

The new boat arrived at the Ayrshire harbour in December last year, with Callum Govus, Girvan lifeboat station’s full-time coxswain-mechanic, at the helm.

The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat is the first to be propelled by water jets. It cost £2.1m to build and was funded by The John & Elizabeth Allan Memorial Trust.

With a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, the self-righting lifeboat is 50% faster than the RNLB Silvia Burrell she is replacing. The new boat is also ideally suited for offshore searches or equally rescues in calmer shallower waters.

The lifeboat’s water-jets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached as well as to manoeuvre precisely in hazardous conditions such as when operating alongside a stricken vessel.

As they continue to look at new ways of using modern technology to respond to emergencies, last week the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) ran a special event to test the use of drones in a variety of real-life search and rescue scenarios.

An RNLI spokesperson said: “The RNLI has a proud history of embracing new technology – from cork lifejackets in the 1800s to the design and build of our waterjet-propelled Shannon class lifeboat.

“It’s very exciting for us to now explore the potential use of drones in search and rescue activity.”